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Commenting on the Apprenticeship statistics released today by the Department of Education, Jane Gratton, Head of Skills at the British Chambers of Commerce said:
"Since the introduction of the apprenticeship reforms, the statistics have shown a marked decline in the number of apprenticeship starts and, sadly, the latest numbers are no different.
"Businesses are crying out for skilled workers to fill job vacancies and apprenticeships should be very much part of the solution, but the system just isn't working. For SMEs in particular, the new rules have added to the barriers, complexity and cost of recruiting and training staff. For larger firms, the inflexibility of the system has made it difficult to spend their levy funds as they see best, making it feel more like a tax, and leaving less money available to pay for the training people need. Businesses want to invest more in upskilling their workforce, and to offer great career opportunities for young people, but this system is holding everyone back.
"There is consensus across the UK business community that the Levy needs reform, yet our calls continue to go unanswered. We are not asking for a complete overhaul - everyone wants this system to work better. Each month the number of apprenticeships is falling, so now has to be the time for government to work with business and training providers to sort things out."